The Importance of Sleep for Your Health
Are you a four-hours-and-a-pot-of-coffee-makes-me-all-good kind of sleeper? Or do you go to bed at a decent hour and toss and turn – or even get up for an hour or two – all night? Are you an “I-have-to-read-that text, tweet, or post right now!” kind of sleeper, with your sleep interrupted all night long? Or do you have to have at least nine hours of sleep to be able to function the next day?
No matter which one of these kinds of sleepers you are, it’s important to understand that good sleep and good health are related. New and more extensive research into the effects of sleep on health is revealing just how significantly our bodies are affected by how long we sleep and the quality of that sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a chronic problem in the western world. As soon as the Industrial Revolution enabled us to figure how to keep the lights on 24 hours a day and then gave us the bright idea of having people up and awake to work somewhere in that 24-hour period, our sleep habits and our sleep quality, especially in the United States, began to suffer. The “Technological Revolution” has just intensified the problem for many of us.
Sleep deprivation causes us to make mental errors in judgment. Some might be comparatively minor, such as locking in the keys in the car with the car running. Other mental mistakes in judgment are not so trivial: traffic accidents, industrial accidents, and medical errors that lead to disability or death.
The long-term effects of sleep deprivation are frightening. During sustained, quality sleep, work is going on in the brain to sweep out toxic proteins. This is the only time that our minds are sufficiently enough unoccupied for this cleaning to take place.
However, if we’re not getting that sustained and quality level of sleep, the toxic proteins don’t get removed. Instead, they gradually accumulate in the brain over decades. What toxic proteins do is kill healthy brain cells. Depending on the type of toxic protein, this cellular death may occur over the whole brain’s structure, or it may happen in a specific area of the brain.
However, when enough of these toxic proteins have accumulated in the brain, and enough cells have died, cognition becomes impaired and the active phase of dementia, whether it’s due to Lewy Body proteins, which is what the comedian Robin Williams had, or tau and beta-amyloid proteins, which cause the brain to shrink in size unilaterally, has begun.
You need to sleep well. At Silent Night Therapy, we are committed to ensuring that you get the best sleep of your life. No matter what’s keeping you awake at night, our team is committed to helping you consistently get a better night’s sleep. Call us for an appointment today at (631) 983-2463. Your brain’s health depends on it. Your life may depend on it too.